Category Archives: free money

Can Giving a Gift Land You in Debt?

GiftThe custom of gift-giving is one that is missing in the United States, even as we prepare to celebrate Christmas. Why? Gift-giving in other cultures does not stem from a capitalistic commercialism, but rather from the spiritual interaction between a gift giver and a recipient. It has less to do with what you give, and more to do with how you give and to whom you give. It is a practice of cultivating a generosity of spirit that includes rightful action to a community.

Dana

In Buddhist philosophy, dana was the spiritual practice of giving that helped to reduce the imperfection of greed in a person and improve their karmic score. Hindus give dana and have very elaborate rituals over what type of gifts will produce what type of karmic benefits. Give a gift of sesame seed to a temple and you get a karmic bonus of fertility. Beyond giving a gift, the recipient also has certain obligations. They must respect the act of the giving as a sacred act, just as the recipient offers it in that same attitude. If the gift is not respected, it is said to lead to the downfall of both the giver and the recipient. Also, giving certain types of gifts actually boomerang on you karmically, rather than raising your karmic score.

It is also suggested that you should not give gifts to people who are not in your spiritual lineage. Some traditions say certain people can only receive gifts. I’ve even heard of other teachings where women must always give, but never take. In Hindu gift-giving one should try to seek out Brahmins to gift as the act is considered “rightful giving” and reaps many spiritual benefits, unlike giving to someone who uses the gift but returns no spiritual teachings to a community. Obviously, I’m not here to argue over whether these traditions are correct or not. I am just suggesting that the act of giving is intrinsic to spiritual wealth, but it comes with some responsibilities. It also has to do with why so many people land into debt.

Generosity

There are supposedly five stages in the Buddist practice of dana. In the conditional giving stage, you give something because you expect something in return. That is not considered bad, but merely somewhat ignorant. You are expected to do this practice until you can give without expecting anything in return. In America, this amounts to our ideal of “earning one’s wage” or even a fair business transaction. It is tied into our beliefs about integrity and work. We expect that everything we work at will yield some result. However, that’s just not realistic. There are plenty of hard workers that never get the fruits of their labor, for various reasons. I am not about to dump more on them to suggest that they have bad karma either. There are plenty of people who give of their time and efforts working for companies that destroy our environment, steal from people with usurious interest rates, and generally have unethical business practices. And, they make a fortune at it while they’re doing it. I’m not going to suggest they are due bad karma either for doing it. For one thing, this type of teaching has no effect on people who willfully sow bad seeds and it does nothing to help those that have sown good seed, but failed to reap a harvest. Thus, for me at least, gift-giving is not about bettering my karmic odds at all.

Maybe I’m a Miser

I admit that I have no patience for a consumerist Christmas, whether it is giving out tons of presents or sending out Christmas cards. The earth is not going to jump up and down for joy because several forests were decimated over the practice of giving out Christmas cards. I don’t like the unspoken obligation that stems from our puritanical roots that when you get a gift, you’re supposed to give one in return. For one thing, some families have no understanding that the annual Christmas-giving frenzy is a horror for single individuals, with or without children. One family of four (a couple and two children) can give one present of high worth to one individual, but the expectation is that that individual should give back four presents of similar worth each because “the kids are too little to give.” This is despite the economic inequality of that family earning twice as much as the individual that is now responsible for four “gifts” of similar value. In a commercial and “equitable” way of looking at things, the gift recipient is a miser for not giving gifts to everyone on Christmas of similar worth. In a spiritual sense, the GIVER is the one committing a sin against the sacred act of gift-giving. Regardless, that gift-giving act then becomes something that puts both people in debt. The kindest thing one can do then is to opt out of this madness.

Proper Gift-Giving

Do I know what the proper way is to give a gift or receive one? I really don’t think our American culture has an inkling about that. It is something we need to learn from Asian or other similar gift-giving cultures. I know that I have plenty to learn in this area. For one, I have learned over the years that it is not proper to give for altruistic reasons alone. One MUST consider how the gift will be used and who is getting it. I suppose that’s rather judgmental of me, but I consider a gift given to a stranger of far more value than one given to someone who will feel obligated to return something to me. I consider my time at work a gift and that means that sometimes I don’t give as freely in some projects that I consider will produce a negative community result or uphold ideals that will bring down the company or harm others – despite them being framed in altruistic terms. On the other hand, sometimes I give way more than is expected because I know it will be of benefit to others, even when it is framed in commercial terms. In this respect, I do not believe giving one’s life in a fruitless war is appropriate gift-giving unless it is to defend a nation’s peoples. Similarly, some people who work in companies that are unethical are there to plant good seeds in a field full of thorns. You really can’t tell the wheat from the tares until it’s time for the harvest. You might think that an individual or company that gives lots of money to a specific cause is generous and altruistic, but later you find out that they are trying to “greenwash” themselves to fool buyers into trusting their brand. They may give with the right hand a little and take back way more with the left hand – causing tremendous damage to the community all for the sake of hidden greed.

For instance, the IMF has been accused of giving loans to struggling countries only to later use those loans to bankrupt and take over an area. This trickles down to farmers losing needed credit to farm their lands and losing a heritage that might have been in their family for generations. The bank takes the lands and it is not even worked or harvested. It is used to amass wealth and control territory and gain political power by buying politicians. That same land may end up being “gifted” to people in support of the corrupt political system as a thank you for their support. This is a prime example of gift-giving at its worst and the giver and the recipient land both in debt. Ultimately, I think that if we figure out the proper attitude towards gift-giving we may be able to heal what is wrong with our capitalistic system. After all, how many experts have said for years that we are headed for a “gift economy”? Yet, we still have no idea what the proper way is to give and take in a responsible fashion that does not harm others and creates abundance for the community.

How a Person of Integrity Gives a Gift

These five are a person of integrity’s gifts. Which five? A person of integrity gives a gift with a sense of conviction. A person of integrity gives a gift attentively. A person of integrity gives a gift in season. A person of integrity gives a gift with an empathetic heart. A person of integrity gives a gift without adversely affecting himself or others. – http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an05/an05.148.than.html

*This is the first part in a series I am going to be doing on gift-giving and the gift economy.

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If I Had A Chance To Invest In Amazon Again…

blastoffimage

Many years ago, I worked at a patent and trademark research firm. This was right about the time that the WWW got online and companies were starting to appear. Part of the research expanded to domain names for copyright infringement, and so there was a lot of talk and looking at new companies, one of which was Amazon.com. As an avid reader and book buyer, my jaw literally dropped when I saw this store and I jumped up from my screen and ran into my bosses office and said: “Oh, my gosh! This company is brilliant! If I had money to invest in it now – I would! Get whatever money you have extra and invest in Amazon.com. It will be HUGE!”

Why I Chose To Be Poor

Did I take my own advice? No. Why? Because I was convinced that I knew nothing about investing and that I had no spare money for investing. So, I let that mega opportunity pass me by – even though I recognized it as a gold mine!

Now, when I put up my blog survey to hear what topics people wanted to read on my blog, the number one selection was: “How To Create More Income.” Yet, even if a mega opportunity stares you in the face, are you going to choose to be poor, like I did? I can tell you what I think the next Amazon is for me, but will you believe me? Will you not invest and choose to be poor, like I did? It’s not that  the opportunity doesn’t appear that’s the problem, it’s that few people fail to take advantage of the opportunity EVEN when they recognize it for what it is. Why is that?

Kiyosaki’s Choose To Be Rich Program

All it really would have taken for me to profit from Amazon.com would have been the research to learn how to buy stock and the determination to use my own funds to do it, no matter how little. Over the years, I’ve had the same pattern, over and over. I am very good at spotting hit money makers, I am just not good at following through on them. And, yet, no one gets rich from work alone. If you want to create wealth you have to create a business or invest, you have to plant seeds that grow on their own. That’s the Rich Dad path, as Kiyosaki states in his program “You Can Choose To Be Rich.”

Your Mind Is The Only Obstacle

I have come to see all obstacles as self-inflicted. The only true obstacle in your life is your mind set. Yes, there are external conditions that hamper us, but they started in the mind first, in how we perceived ourselves and how we limited ourselves. The beliefs we have and nurture make up what happens too.  There are plenty of reasons not to do something, and most of those are just our way of subconsciously limiting our future choices and wealth.

A Hot New Opportunity

Now, I have found another very hot opportunity. I didn’t think twice even though money was tight this week. This is a company I have been involved with for over 10 years and that I have reaped at least $30,000 extra in my association with them already. It was a no brainer to upgrade to become a business partner with them for $72.  After October 30th, the cost to be an business partner would have gone up to over $250! I never did it before, even though I was tempted, for solely one reason: I am an at-home Internet worker, and they were a face-to-face company. This has ALL changed! Even so, that wouldn’t have been enough NOW because I already am self-employed. I don’t want another job, I want a business or investment opportunity – a set it and forget it money-maker! With their partnership with the Blastoff Network, I am now in a position to do exactly that. Build my wealth and put it on auto-pilot. And, you can too!

I Will Help You Do It!

This is the perfect opportunity, as it is low cost entry right now, and the basic level is free! It is partnered with Blastoff, a company that may or may not be bigger than Facebook in a few years, but I want to get in on the ground floor!  Join the network first, and I will send everyone in my network a free 10-page report telling you how to create a “set it and forget it” business with it, no matter what your niche is! This you get only for joining using my link. It is completely free to join my network, and from there you can learn ways to create multiple streams of income, some require an upfront investment and others do not, choosing which is right for you. There is no obligation to buy anything! Do yourself a favor and take the time to investigate this opportunity during the pre-launch! After October 30th, major players will be advertising this network, and you will have missed out on the BEST WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY  I have seen in many years. Don’t choose to be poor like I did with Amazon,  join today!

Giving for Valentine’s While Getting Something Back

I’m all for giving and getting back at the same time. Just because we want to be service-to-other doesn’t mean we dismiss any perks that come our way. A great example of giving while getting is to use a service like www.ebates.com. They have a way to get money back on almost every purchase you make through their site and sign-up is free. Many of the major manufacturers put discounts up and all you have to do is use www.ebates.com as a portal to your favorite vendor.

So, say you have jewelry you want to buy at a jewelry store. Instead of buying it directly from your local store, hop online and see if ebates.com offers a discount on the exact same merchandise. Be sure to include any shipping you might have to pay in your calculations of the best deal, but during special holidays like Valentine’s Day many online retailers waive shipping fees too. They offer special promotions too that add cash to your account and, if you order by February 14th, you can get $10 in your cash back account on top of the discount you get for buying a gift through their portal.

I will give you an example of how I am using this site. I got referred by someone else and they gave me a $5 bonus referral (which is their usual referral). They got a $5 bonus too for referring me. I didn’t use the service for a while and the cash sat there because you have to have $5.01 in your account for them to cut a check to you. But, that didn’t bother me because that money didn’t expire. I just kept checking back. Around Christmas time, I knew I had an expense that would be good to buy online: a cell phone. In addition, they were offering another $10 in various promotions. I bought the cell phone to get the extra cash in the account and scored $15 in free money. Now, I am referring the same service to you and if you sign up, I will also get a referral bonus. That’s the way to use these types of sites to not only help people save, but help make some money and great deals for yourself too. I give, you get, and I get too.